November 20, 2023
PremierLeague – Match 11: 18.11.23. A View from the Touchline
Currie Chieftains 52 pts (t7, c 7, p g 1) v Musselburgh10 pts (t 1, c 1, pg 1)
On the back of some recent impressive wins, Musselburgh came to a damp Malleny Park full of justified confidence, and for most of the first half they had the greater share of territory and possession. Unfortunately for them, they failed to convert the pressure into points, but on the three occasions when Currie got into Musselburgh’s 22, they were clinical.
The visitors were quick to register their intentions with quality attacking rugby which caught the Chieftains off-side. Despite playing at a fiery pace, the early penalty points were overtaken when Currie secured a lineout in Musselburgh territory. Playmaker, Alex Harley chipped over the advancing opposition, and the ball bounced beautifully for DJ Innes who sent Gregor Christie racing in for a converted try. Musselburgh’s efficient attacking style kept the hosts’ defence busy, and they were unlucky when another penalty shot hit the post. A dynamic 20-metre run from Thomas Jeffrey briefly relieved the pressure, but the visitors were soon sniffing at the Currie line again. Were it not for exceptional turnovers at the lineout, where Ali McCallum and Courtney West excelled, and the power from Currie’s scrum, particularly Graeme Carson, Musselburgh would have taken a deserved lead.
30 minutes had passed before the Chieftains made their next visit into the opposition 22. DJ Innes executed a tremendous turnover, and the platform had a fizzing Paddy Bowyer darting for the line. Although he was stopped just short, Rhys Davies picked up and crashed over for the converted try. The next score, a few minutes later, knocked the stuffing out of the battling visitors. Currie’s ballistic missile, Roy Vucago, launched into an unstoppable 60-metre gallop; Alex Harley took the final pass and belted for the corner flag. Amongst the highlights of the afternoon was Charlie Brett’s immaculate goal kicking.
Halftime score – Currie Chieftains 21 pts, Musselburgh 3 pts.
Minutes before the break, Paddy Bowyer was sent to the sinbin for a deliberate knock-on, but the 14 Malleny men showed no sign of being underpowered. Within 5 minutes of the restart, Charlie Brett had kicked a penalty goal, and converted a try which went the length of the pitch. The versatile Gregor Christie, returning after his European jaunt, looked sharper than ever. From a scrum deep in the Currie 22, he caught Musselburgh off-guard with a sublime blind-side break, and his perfect pass sent the flying Ryan Daley to the posts. The match remained competitive, but with a try bonus pointsecured, Currie were now cruising, and their finishing prowess came to the fore. Gregor Christie again worked his magic for the next score; he stripped the ball from his opposite number, made ground, and released Ryan Daley down the touchline. The reliable speedster still had to accelerate around the cover defence for a wonderful try.
Even in the final quarter, the visitors had plenty of possession, particularly when some wayward Currie kicking from hand fell well short of its target. Thankfully, the home defence was unrelentingly solid, and any gaps were plugged by a team effort. Currie’s well organised cover defending has noticeably improved. With the introduction of a couple of exciting youngsters, Ross Morrison and Ollie Blyth-Lafferty from the bench, Currie added some spice to the proceedings; it was not long before they were both into frontline action. A well-rehearsed penalty lineout drove for the corner, and a converted Sean Fisher try.
The visitors’ dogged determination was eventually rewarded with a late converted score, but Charlie Brett, now fully recovered from injury, added a concluding flourish to this entertaining match. Gregor Christie’s fantastic interception only metres from his own goal line, started a move which James McCaig continued, and Charlie Brett finished by converting his own corner flag try; it all had a bit of ‘wow’ factor about it. Heriot’s had a good win against their near rivals Edinburgh Accies at the weekend, so the Chieftains’ visit to Goldenacre next Saturday will be no picnic; Kick-off 2.00pm.
I.J.S. - 20.11.23.